Senior-led Hounds hungry for Battle, league title

SAN BENITO — On the eve of the Battle of the Arroyo, the San Benito Greyhounds had a night to reflect on what has been a season to remember.

Half of their story has been written with a dominating district run, but their story continues tonight when they host Harlingen High.

A win would see the Hounds hoist an outright district title and set their sights on the playoffs.

This season, the Hounds’ offense has run through and around opposing teams. On the other side of the ball, coach Dan Gomez has seen his defense emerge as one of the more physical units in the Valley.

The Hounds boast one of the top pass rush units, but their anchor of the defense lies with the hard-hitting senior line backing corps of Payne Guajardo, Pedro Gomez and Ryan Castillo.

“Ever since we started our offseason last year, we built a great team bond and everything has flowed into this season,” Guajardo said. “This rivalry with Harlingen is great. It’s intense and I love being a part of it.”

Guajardo has 53 total tackles and has a knack for finding the ball with nine tackles for loss. Castillo, meanwhile, has checked in 66 total tackles and averages 7.3 tackles per game. Gomez, on the other hand, has been a tackling machine with a team-high 79 total tackles and 9.9 tackles per game.

This year’s senior group has an opportunity to complete an unblemished regular season and have shown no signs of slowing down.

“Each day I go out and practice hard, and that translates over to the field,” Gomez said. “My coaches have helped and taught me a lot this year and every time I go out there I do my job and this year has been big for me, and I’m ready to help my team win a district title.”

The chemistry between the defense unit is a testament to defensive coordinator Michael Mull.

“I think our chemistry goes back to Coach Mull and the schemes he puts together,” said Castillo. “He has us working together and knows where to put us. A lot of these guys have been playing together since we were little. I’ve played with Ryan Reza since I was 6 years old and to see us on the verge of a district title is rewarding, and we’re excited.”